How I First Dealt With MS VS Now
Have you seen that diaper commercial where the mom is looking to hire a babysitter for her first child and she is interviewing a lady with ten years experience and a masters degree in early childhood development but still the mother is disappointed because the lady does not have a PhD? Then for her second child, the mom is handing her baby off to some high school girl wearing all black, heavy makeup and a nose ring? “By their second kid, every mom is an expert”. Well that is sort of how I feel about my multiple sclerosis.
When I was first diagnosed at the age of 20, I was in contact with my doctor as soon as I started experiencing any small difference in my health. Some pins and needles? I need Prednisone! Any little difference in my body and the sirens would blaze as I panicked to get some form of treatment. Oh my God! My left ring finger is numb! Get me to the hospital and administer 1,000mg of Methylprednisolone over 2 hours for 5 days stat! But that was then, now? “Hmmm… my right leg feels kind of limp… I’ll give it a few days and see what’s up” or “Aw man, my vision is extra blurry today, well, c’est la vie”.
I am not sure if I have just become more reckless or if I have developed a better understanding of the characteristics of this disease. I would like to assume it’s the latter of the two haha… Now instead of getting that feeling of panic I get the feeling of “ok, it’s not really that serious”. I really do feel like I know the limits of my body now and I can tell if it’s just a small, temporary flare (known as a pseudo exacerbation when symptoms last less than 24 hours) or a full-blown exacerbation/relapse that is going to require physical therapy to get back to almost as good as I was before MS came in with a sledgehammer to do what MS does. In fact, I swear I can literally feel the difference before enough time has passed to determine what it is on paper. When it’s going to be a full-blown exacerbation I feel like my insides are “on fire”, not like I am hot, like all my wires are short-circuiting and burning up. Maybe it’s just in my head? But so far I have usually been right but never say never, right?.. But either way, my point is this, I start experiencing something and rather than contacting my doctor right away I find myself trying to decide if it really even needs immediate attention. I imagine this is how a lot of people are after living with MS for so many years but honestly? I don’t know, I have never thought to ask.
I can also say I would rather save the steroids for a more serious relapse so that I do not build a tolerance to them and so they will work better when I really do need them. Also, I just don’t want so many chemicals running through my system; after years of IV medications, injections and pills I have started to feel like it is a bit unhealthy because after all, this stuff really is not supposed to be there. Our bodies did not evolve over thousands of years with all this crap in us; you wouldn’t have found a caveman popping a handful of pills every morning right? I am not saying “all medications are poison”, no, we need this stuff but part of me just wants to feel “clean” because right now I feel like if there was a zombie apocalypse and I got bit? That zombie would just die because of all the crap I have running through my body. I am just saying that like anything else, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing; moderation is key.
Do you find that you have become more "relaxed" about a flare up than when you were first diagnosed? Share below!
The holiday season is among us and can be so stressful! Do you experience more flares during this season?